Fighting for the right to be equal

Made In Dagenham by the Rattonians
Made In Dagenham by the Rattonians

The Rattonians will soon bring to Eastbourne their premier of the West End musical Made in Dagenham.

Following on from the highly successful film the musical follows the true story of working women to be paid a fair wage in the Dagenham Ford factory in 1968. Their fight appropriately brings them to the TUC conference in Eastbourne.

Made in Dagenham shows how ordinary people can do extraordinary things when they stand together. With a great score, including the song Viva Eastbourne, the Rattonians’ promise an engaging fun, energetic show – something new and British.

Each morning Rita O’Grady, played by Chloe Shearer, tries to get her husband Eddie, Wayne Newton, out of bed, get the kids off to school and get to work on time. But life changes forever when it’s announced that the girls in the sewing room of Ford’s car plant will have their pay grade dropped to ‘unskilled’. Quickly drawing on a strength she never knew she had, Rita leads her friends in a battle against the might of Ford and the corruption of the Union supposed to protect them.

The ladies take their fight to London and comedy comes from Harold Wilson (Steve Clarke) and Barbara Castle (Melanie Adams) as the strike needs to be resolved. Harold sings of juggling with the balance of payments in Monty Python’esk style, while Barbara sings of an Ideal World – so much still pertinent today.

The role of Union representative, Connie, is played by Avril Bell, with Mark Adams playing Monty. The Dagenham Ladies are led by Heather Bilton, Laura Sivers, Emily Davis and Daniella Redmond. James Bell plays the American boss, Head of Ford. Rita and Eddie’s children in the show come with buckets of West End experience – Megan Clarke (recently in the tour of The Sound of Music) and Owen Pennington (in Gypsy at The Savoy) complete the strong company.

Directed by Mark Adams, Musical Director Carl Greenwood, Choreographer Jan Lynton the show opens at The Congress Theatre on July 26-30 with performances at 7.30pm and matinees on Thursday and Saturday at 2.30pm Tickets £16.50 with concs from 01323 411080.